Gun-related violent crime continues to drop in Virginia as the sales of firearms continue to soar, a pattern that one local criminologist finds interesting “given the current rhetoric about strengthening gun laws.”
As Virginia's white population drops, the threat of massive gun control laws being passed (in the National Rifle Association's backyard) is a reality -- though gun crime is almost exclusively black crime
Major gun crime collectively dropped for a fourth consecutive year statewide, while firearms sales climbed to a new record in 2012 with 490,119 guns purchased in 444,844 transactions — a 16 percent rise over 2011, according to federally licensed gun dealer sales estimates obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The proliferation of guns occurred as the total number of major reported crimes committed with all types of firearms in Virginia dropped 5 percent, from 4,618 offenses in 2011 to 4,378 last year, according to Virginia State Police data.
Looking back over seven years, total firearm sales in Virginia have risen a staggering 101 percent from 2006 to 2012, while gun-related crime has dropped 28 percent during that period.So just who is committing the gun-crime (be it nonfatal shooting or homicides) in Virginia?
Remember, more blacks, more crime; less blacks, less crime.
In fact, with Virginians (well, white Virginians) enjoying purchasing record numbers of guns, black people in Virgina are enjoying keeping homicides rates robust in cities like Norfolk and Richmond.[Black-on-Black Homicides Cause For Concern, The New Journal and Guide, 6-20-12]:
On June 10th, for a reason yet to be explained, 58-year-old Desi Denard, was shot to death by a man he was chatting with in front of a home he shared with a friend on Hale Street in the Lindenwood section of Norfolk. Denard, who went by the name Muhammad Bilal, according to the woman he shared a home with, was talking with another man she did not know who was dressed in a hoodie. After a brief exchange, she said the hooded man shot and killed her friend, and then casually walked away down the street. Denard was the 18th victim of homicide in the city of Norfolk thus far in 2012, a trend which surpasses the seven incidents of murder which occurred by this time in 2011. Norfolk’s homicide rate exceeds adjacent communities, during a time when federal and local statistics indicate that the violent crime rate nationally has slowed down in recent years. But the pace of Black on Black crime, specifically homicide, continues to be unabated in large urban areas around the nation.
Of Norfolk’s 18 homicides,17 of the 18 victims are African American. One was a Hispanic male. Most of the African Americans who were killed died at the hands of other African Americans. None of the victims or assailants were white. Portsmouth reports 5; Chesapeake 7; and Virginia Beach, 10, thus far, according to public information officers of these city’s respective police departments. In Virginia Beach four of the victims were four white male adults and one white infant. There were also four Black male adults and one Black infant who were victims of homicide at the Beach.
As of June 9th, Richmond had 17 homicides. Fourteen of the victims were Black males and three of them were Black females, according to that city’s police information officer. The list of the 18 homicide victims in Norfolk indicates that 14 of the victims were adult Black males. There was a two-month-old baby girl who was asphyxiated by her 21-year-old father and a seven-month-old baby boy who died of what authorities said was “physical distress” caused by his 29-year-old male caregiver. The other Black male victims range from their 20s to Denard, who was in his late 50s.According to Norfolk Police Department spokesman Chris Amos, 12 of the 18 homicides have been solved so far. Motivations for the violence vary, he said, from domestic squabbles to robbery to simple arguments that escalated to murder. Many of the motives are unknown because suspects have not cooperated. The rate of homicides exists, despite efforts by the Norfolk Police Department to devote more resources and personnel to “hot spots” where drugs distribution activity fueled by local gangs are taking place, again, in many working class and mostly Black neighborhoods of the city. The issue of high level of Black on Black crime in Norfolk and other urban centers has been a source of concern for Black civic, political, and spiritual leadership for years, especially during times of economic weaknesses which the country is experiencing now. Reasons vary from economics to the easy availability of unregistered guns, social deprivation, school drop-outs and stable family life.Norfolk’s Black population represents close to half of the city’s inhabitants. The city has one of the largest numbers of Black middle class residents in the region, but there are still large concentrations of poor, and economically isolated communities where crime is prevalent. Most of the homicides in the city occurred in the Super Ward 7, represented by Councilwoman Angelia Williams on the Norfolk City Council. She said that when she attends civic league meetings the neighborhoods which make up her voting district the issue of crime is front and center on the agenda. On June 12, the Lindenwood and Cottage Heights Civic Leagues shifted their focus to how they would steer the communities to respond to the most recent shooting which took place just blocks away from the Union Baptist Church where the groups hold their joint monthly civic league meeting.Rev. Geoffrey Guns is the Senior Pastor of the Second Calvary Baptist Church in the city’s Broadcreek section. Rev. Guns agrees with Williams that the “proliferation” of handguns in the Black community “promotes nothing but a culture of violence. Many of the guns are unregistered and owned by irresponsible people who acquire them illegally and easily because the NRA is pushing politicians to relax access to guns to promote the fantasy of gun ownership based on the Constitution. “Thus we have Black on Black crime … with guns … along with high poverty and the devaluation of our own worth as a people. This is helping us commit communal genocide,” said Guns.He continued, “The educational disparity is fostered by the high dropout rate, which I believe is racially motivated. Have you looked at the children being put out of the schools in large number? They are Black …they are male ... they are from dysfunctional homes where they may never see an adult rise in the morning to go off to work, especially a man. Many of the public programs of the Great Society have been dismantled; they claimed they did not work.
Let's dig a just a tad bit deep into the homicides in Richmond (though it's no longer 1994, Richmond is still dangerous courtesy of the melanin-enriched population) [Richmond-region homicides dip in 2011, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1-15-12]:“But they lifted a large portion of Black people out of poverty when they did exist.”
Following a nationwide trend, the Richmond region saw a notable decline in killings last year, with 11 of the area's 21 localities going homicide-free.
Police departments in the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area collectively recorded 82 homicides in 2011, or 12 percent fewer than the 93 slayings the year before, according to a Richmond Times-Dispatch review of area homicide data.
The drop can be attributed largely to decreases in Richmond and Petersburg, which together recorded 11 fewer homicides, combined with five rural localities that saw their killings collectively fall by seven from 2010 to 2011.
Although Richmond accounted for 48 percent of the region's killings, 2011 marked the fourth consecutive year that the city's homicide count was in the 40s or lower.
"The news that homicides are declining holds true in most areas nationwide, and it appears that central Virginia is no different," said Jay Albanese, a criminologist and professor of criminal justice studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. "There's been a few upticks here and there over the last decade, but the downward trend is clear."
Last year's regional tally of homicide victims included 69 males, 13 females, 59 blacks, 18 whites, four Hispanics and one Asian.
Sixty-six of the 82 killings, or 80 percent, were by gunfire. Seven were fatally beaten or suffered lethal blunt-force injuries; five were stabbed; two were asphyxiated; and one was fatally burned. The cause of death in one case has yet to be determined.
Of the suspects arrested so far, 67 are men, six are women, 59 are black, 12 are white and two Hispanic. Police charged multiple suspects in some homicide cases. Four suspects were fatally shot by police.
The disproportionate number of blacks who were killed declined from 80 percent in 2010 to 76 percent in 2011. But the number of blacks charged in killings increased from 71 percent in 2010 to 80 percent last year.
In Richmond, 82 percent of the city's homicide victims and 90 percent of the identified suspects were black.
"There's a high intercorrelation between socioeconomic status, education and involvement in violence," Albanese said of the racial disparity.
Typically, people with higher incomes and more education are better equipped to deal with major conflicts in their lives in a rational manner, and have access to resources to help them resolve those issues, Albanese said. But "people without education or income often lash out because they're not only angry at the person (they feel wronged them), they're angry at their circumstance."
Richmond Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Learned Barry said the city's reported total of 37 killings last year — the second-lowest number since at least 1970 — offers further validation that Richmond is far less plagued by violence than in years past.
Impulse control. Future-time orientation. Some form of conflict/resolution ability mixed with an understanding of risk/reward...that's why black people have such a virtual lock on gun crime in Virginia.